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Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions

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The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions (CSDI) "was founded by Robert Maynard Hutchins and was based in Santa Barbara, California, from 1959 to 1987. During that time it brought together many of the most capable and distinguished minds of the times to discuss vital issues facing American society of the day. Political and academic leaders, scientists, social scientists, legal scholars, journalists, theologians, labor and community leaders focused on topics such as peace and war, democracy, dissent, community action, ecology and the environment, elections and the electoral process, immigration, international relations, law and order, the media, race and ethnicity, and religion. Prominent participants included Senator Alan Cranston, Upton Sinclair, Milton Friedman, Mortimer Adler, Cesar Chavez, Aldous Huxley, Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, Sander Vanocur, and Gunner Myrdal among many others." [1]

For information of their Journal, and other archival information.

History of the Center.

In 1987 the Center "passed on its name and mailing list to New Perspectives Quarterly, a Los Angeles-based small-circulation journal published by Stanley Sheinbaum, once an economics fellow on the center's staff." [2]

1987 Board of Directors

(Obtained from The Center Magazine, Vol 20 (1), Jan/Feb, 1987)

1985 Board of Directors

(Obtained from The Center Magazine, Vol 18 (1), Jan/Feb, 1985)

(Allen Weinstein and many other new 'democratic' director joined the Center in early 1984 - see May/June 1984 issue of The Center Magazine)

1979 Board of Directors

Harry S. Ashmore

(Obtained from The Center Magazine, Vol 12 (1), Jan/Feb, 1979)

Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. The Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions Audio Archive, Donald C. Davidson Library, accessed November 27, 2007.
  2. Michael Harrington, "Robert Hutchins's platonic grove (Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions)", The Nation, January 1988.